Holiday Diary – Part 5

Sunday 7th October

We went to a regional market in Menzenschwand. Menzenschwand is only 20 minutes from where we were staying in Todtmoos so we had a late breakfast and enjoyed the morning before leaving the apartment at about 11:45. It rained a lot today and it had been raining constantly all night so the roads and pathways were very wet. We got the Menzenschwand, parked the car and then walked to the market. It was a lot smaller than we had thought it would be. There was a big dining hall, which was full of people sitting, eating and drinking while while watching a brass band play. Outside, stalls were all set out with local people selling their home-made items. There was home-made apple juice (of which we bought a 5 litre canister!), home-made wooden kitchen utensils and bread bins, egg timers, cushions, jams, marmalades and meat products. If you wanted to, you could even buy a goat!

We got home at about 13:30 and cracked open our canister of apple juice before settling down to enjoy a lazy Sunday in the warm and dry. The canister of apple juice eventually turned into what can only be described as natural toxic waste. It wouldn’t stop fizzing and the bottle expanded. The contents smelt more and more like cider as the week went on and we ended up disposing of it down the kitchen sink.

We ended up having a nap and woke up at 16:45. We decided that as it was lovely and sunny outside, finally, we would got for a walk. We ended up walking up to Rütte and following the path home we took the other day. All in all, we walked about 8km.

Monday 8th October

Today we went to Strasbourg – it was a great day out and much better than either of us expected it to be. When we got there, we were both dying to spend a penny so we were hunting the city for toilets and weren’t able to start enjoying our day out until we were 20 minutes in. When we were both feeling more relieved and ready to be tourists, we headed for the Notre Dame cathedral which was amazing.

The entire exterior of the building was covered in stone statues, gargoyles and other stone decorations. There wasn’t a patch of the cathedral which hadn’t been exquisitely decorated.

The cathedral’s exterior decorations – the camera doesn’t do it any justice though!

Inside the cathedral was equally as wonderful. The interior was huge, absolutely massive, and it made me feel quite small as a mere human being to be in such a gigantic and beautifully decorated place. It was quite dark inside, but the main things to see were all illuminated. The organ pipes were decorated with gold and red and they were high up near the roof of the cathedral. The main altar was preceded by a large golden cross and lit up which made it look a bit mysterious. The wall at the back of the altar was rounded and had been painted with al frescos which were still brightly coloured despite being extremely old. At the back of the cathedral was a solar clock which showed not only the time, but also the date, the phases of the moon and the zodiac signs. It was very impressive and ornately decorated in gold and dark blue. Around the outside of the clock were paintings, angels and other stone carvings.

Looking down the main aisle

The brightly decorated organ

After having looked around the cathedral, we decided to explore the city a bit more and went to have a look at the main square in the middle. The square was lined with shops, with fountains in the middle. The houses around the square are all unique – they are all so old and look rickety but they have been brightly painted and well looked after. The buildings reminded me a bit of Tudor buildings in England. They look like they all date from the same era.

Panorama of Strasbourg’s main square

We found Galéries Lafayette (one of my favourite French shops!) and went in to buy my mum some Clarins as I promised I would before we came on holiday. She loves the Eau Dynamisante fragrance and so I bought her a litre bottle of it. You can only get it in France! I also bought some of the Clarins hand cream as a ‘well done for finding the litre bottle of perfume’ prize. The lady at the Clains counter was really nice and gave me lots of freebies which my purchases! I treated myself to a bottle of Chanel No.5 and got some freebies with that too!

Between us, my mother and I financially uphold the Clarins brand in the UK…a

After spending too much money in Galéries Lafayette, we went and found a lovely restaurant close tot he cathedral and had some lunch. The food was delicious!

After lunch, we went to find the European Council buildings. We didn’t realise quite how far out of the city they were so we ended up walking about 3km there and 3km back.

Outside the Centre of Europe!

Still, despite my legs and feet being fairly dead by the time we got back to the car, it was worth it! We didn’t see any famous people though…
We made our way back to the car and got home at about 20:00. Phew!

Tuesday 9th October

Today we got up to find it raining heavily. It was too wet to go out and do a long walk so we decided to go to Bad Säckingen and try out the Thermal Baths. We got there at about 13:00 and paid €10 to get in. Once we had got changed and finally worked out how to work the lockers (it took us forever – you have to use the little electronic wrist thing they give you, in case anyone goes there after reading this… Push it against the lock and voila!) we showered and went into the bathing area.

If you’re ever nearby, visit the Thermal Baths!

There were four baths to choose from. The first one was a normal swimming pool temperature and the other three were all much warmer! There were two thermal baths inside with the regular pool. The biggest one was 32 degrees, the other one was smaller and the temperature was about 40 degrees. Outside was the fourth thermal bath with a temperature of 34 degrees. This was the best one and we spent the most time here – though we tried all of the thermal baths. By the time we found the regular swimming pool, we’d been in a outdoor bath so it was freezing in comparison!

The thermal baths all have salty water which is really good for your skin so we spent 2 hours being pampered. The outdoor bath was pretty awesome. There were water pumps around the outside which created a strong current. All we had to do was float and allow ourselves to be pushed around by the water. There was a bubble bench in the middle of the pool which we sat on and the bubbles created a huge massage chair. At the other end of the pool was a jacuzzi corner which was very relaxing to float in! There was also a fountain which acted like a powere shower. If you stood underneath it, your shoulders were pummelled and you had absoultely no choice but to relax. Because the bath was outdoors and the water was kept a constant 34 degrees, we could see steam coming off the top of the pool. It was a great two hours and we both came away feeling relaxed a quite sleepy!

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